This morning, I got into a small online argument with a fellow D.C. gastronome (can I just pause here and say that I hate almost all the words used to describe a food lover; they all carry the connotation that you can’t tie your shoes without the help of a sommelier or bus boy) who disagreed with my decision to exclude the local heavy hitters from my Young & Hungry Dining Guide.

Wrote this epicure (again with the gastro-dandy terms) over two separate e-mails:

No Komi? Omitting Citronelle is trendy. Omitting Komi is foolhardy. (And no, I’m not a New Yorker. I think Komi beats Pierre Gagnaire in Paris, which is 3 stars and top ten in the “best in the world” list.)

Having places on your list that are not on Tom’s or Todd’s is what makes it interesting and cool. But entirely omitting from the list a place that’s on everyone’s list, and tops on many of them, seems deliberately provocative. But we’ll just agree to disagree (unless you want to buy me dinner at Komi so we can sit down together and you can make your case against their inclusion!)”

 Here was my response back to this international eater:

Provocative, yes, but really more realistic. Let’s be honest here, man. What are these types of lists about? Are they about the critic, who wants to parrot much of the same list so that she/he can prove his/her bonafides as a diner and critic? If so, then, yes, it should include Komi and Citronelle and all the usual players. But I think these lists should be practical: They shouldn’t be all about the critic. (I realize the built-in absurdity of that last sentence, given the list is mine only and reflects my biases, but work with me here!) They should be useful tools for the local diners who love to eat out. Seriously, do you really want me to waste 10 spots on places you already know about, just so you can hear me prattle on about how great the place is? Isn’t that the equivalent of people who buy political rant books that cater to their own bias?

What are your thoughts on this matter? Should the D.C. scene’s 800-pound gorillas have been included?